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Angeli Custode (spanish steps)

Their house was at the top of the Spanish Steps...on the Via Sistina.  That summer the city was stifling and beset with cholera.   By the end of summer Rome lay under a pall of mourning and elegies for those who were lost.  Mary Shelley wrote of her own profound loss and overwhelming grief.  During this period she searches for meaning and consolation from a world that seems dark.  Her novel ‘The last Man’  mirrors this time in their lives and chronicles what it must feel like to be the last person left alive on a desolate earth.  Searching for relief they left Rome for the coast.

In San Terenzo the sea surrounded them.  Her garden became a calming focus.  It was what the locals called ‘in stile inglese‘ - in the english style...spilling out in wild and natural abundance.  Slowly, she began to reconstruct her internal world.  A sense of calm and balance returned to their lives.   She gave herself up to life...and in this instance, life triumphed.  Later that year she gave birth to a little boy who would become her greatest joy and strength.

This is a reliquary or a 'philatory'...a transparent container allowing us to see the precious relic within.   From early times reliquaries contained materials that were of great importance to the viewer.   In this reliquary a fragment of early Victorian glass lantern slide depicts two angels hovering above a mother and baby.  In the background the grim reaper slinks away: the Angels have triumphed.  The fragment is encased in a small, square  reliquary box created from found silver (of unknown origin), surrounding an underlying pewter box.  A large, vintage mirrored bead (silver or mercury silvered) hangs below.  The mirrored surface of this globe reflects one view of the  surrounding world...a view that can be changed as required.




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